Why memoir?

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As a future literacy coach, writing will of course be a focus of learning for my students. I recently read an article about memoirs from Beth Kephart that I found interesting. Writing memoirs is a particularly attractive activity, because it allows the opportunity for the student to think about themselves and their own feelings. It can be empowering, fun, and also serve a multitude of purposes for the teacher reading it. There are some pitfalls to avoid, however.

Kephart writes:

“It is all too tempting to allow that let-me-tell-my-story instinct to rule, all too easy to spend the time sussing out details, confirming chronologies, giving the whole thing some shine and some sass. Memoirists must succumb to weeks, months, years spent examining (and cross-examining) themselves. But things grow claustrophobic – monochromatic, monologue-esque – when memoirists fail to say to the reader — one way or another— I know that you have lived your joys and sorrows, too. These are my lessons, for you.”

Kephart praises memoirs which include the reader in the story as well. The article is a great quick read and has some other worthwhile concepts to consider, and is found here.

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